The most obvious option is to cut out the middle man and build your own dedicated render farm. However, if your performance requirements don’t trump any misgivings you may have about the cost of a dedicated farm, it’s not the only option you have…
A number of render management applications don’t necessarily require dedicated hardware for their render nodes. When a rendering job is submitted these applications can also allow you to utilise the power of your existing workstations and servers, particularly when they’re not busy. This is a great compromise.
Distributed rendering on the computers you already have also helps counter a group of related arguments that are often raised against having an in-house render farm (other than the initial cost) – that a typical office, which is home to, say, 30 workstations, is busy enough already. Or perhaps the server rack is close to being fully populated, so there’s nowhere to put a slew of new hardware.
A great roadmap towards a dedicated render farm
Of course, there is nothing to stop you from combining both options. A distributed render farm, based on the computer resources you already have, is an excellent way to start to enjoy the benefits of in-house rendering – the speed, flexibility and cost savings that you’ll accrue – and as time passes you can begin to invest in dedicated render nodes, adding them as you need them, or as the budget becomes available. Who knows? You could even end up generating income by offering rendering services yourself!
In other words, there is nothing to stop you from gradually creating a hybrid system for rendering. Later, you can even invest the money that you’ve saved by rendering in-house in dedicated rendering hardware.
Adding dedicated rendering hardware makes your facilities ever more efficient and quick to turn work around, all of which clearly helps give you a more competitive commercial and creative edge.
Render farm management software
So, there’s software available that manages not only the jobs being submitted but also the servers and workstations on which they’re being rendered.
Client software can be installed on any workstation to make it act as a render node. It gets better though – more advanced render management software, such as Qube!, can even schedule the times when a particular workstation is to act as a render-node.
The productivity of your artists and designers is never compromised.
The benefits of in-house rendering
- The rendering process is fully integrated into your workflow, making life easier.
- The time from submission of the job to its completed return should be much shorter, giving you an edge.
- You can be much more flexible about submitting and changing jobs.
- The initial investment needn’t break the bank.
- It’s easy to scale rendering performance upwards as your needs grow.
There is a clear roadmap all the way up to a dedicated rendering resource without having to discard any hardware or migrate to a new rendering method.